Historic Darjeeling

Digging into my (admittedly rather small) old postcard collection, I came across a few picturing Darjeeling.


On this first one, other than the title, there is no information on the card. It is unused (as are the other two here), so I do not even have a postmark to help me guess what date the picture was taken. I would guess, however, that although the postcard was probably printed in the 1930’s, the photo could be ten or twenty years older than that. It looks as though the road on the right is The Mall, and the one running from left to right a little way below the skyline could be Hill Cart Road. Looking through a magnifying glass, it is possible to see that there are plenty of pedestrians, but I cannot make out a single vehicle. The photo would have been taken from a high spot on Dr Zakir Hussein Rd, near where the TV tower now stands.


The second one is simply labelled ‘Native Village, Darjeeling’, and is the representation of a hand-tinted black and white photo. ‘Darjeeling’ is much more than the town, of course, and covers a large area all around it. Other than that, I could not hazzard more than a guess where this village lies. Searching through a few internet sites, however, I found another copy of this with a date of 1910.


Finally, ‘The Railway Loop above Tindharia, Darjeeling’. Also hand coloured, this particular picture appears to be a copy of a photograph taken in 1880 by Bourne and Shepherd. Also known as ‘Agony Point’, this was built to enable trains to tackle the steep gradients by spiralling around instead of going straight up or down. It is renowned for being an incredibly tight loop.

Perhaps this is also a good place to slip in a link to my previous blog post:

My First Long Trip to India (5) in which I wrote about my impressions of Colonial era India when I visited Darjeeling for the first time.

28 thoughts on “Historic Darjeeling

    1. You could well be right, Arv. The complete lack of vehicles made me wonder if that might be the case. If I had more time, I would try to identify a few of the individual buildings and find out when they were built.

      You knew, of course, that I put this post up for you, Arv.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love old postcards and try to buy them ( along with old family photographs) whenever I am in a Colonial Hotspot, or should that be ex Colonial Hotspot. I really enjoyed looking at the postcards and the history behind them. Thank you very much. I had already read your previous linked Blog but it was just as interesting to re-read especially looking at the photos -almost like ” The Shires, eh, what??”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was last there in early 2015, and although Darjeeling has certainly become more crowded, with more ‘in-filling’ of houses, it is still very recognisable from the older pictures. the main difference, as in many places, is the massive amount of traffic, now.

      Hugs back!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Postcards are always mesmerising, bringing back lot of memories. But am sad nowadays we don’t buy all these. This trend is reduced. Your postcards are so beautiful and I liked them a lot. Am wondering how you looked into the first one and spotted the places from them. It shows how much you have enjoyed Darjeeling Mick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not too hard to orientate the picture, knowing that Observatory Hill is in the background. And a magnifying glass really helped!
      No, I don’t think we buy so many, nowadays. We all take loads of photos, and think that will do. But postcards are great for those places you never quite get to, and when they are historic, that’s even better. there’s something special about realising that you’re standing in the same spot that the picture was taken 50 or 100 years ago. More about this later, possibly…

      Liked by 1 person

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